Odette's counterpart in Swan Lake / SUN 10-4-15 / Half classic Mad magazine feature / Vegas casino with mascot Lucky Leprechaun / Piece in early Indian chess sets / Pop star with fragrance Miami Glow
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Constructor: Jeremy Newton
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "Sound Argument" — ["SOUND" is in the grid at 42D, but we'll just pretend that isn't true] ... "childish debate" (represented by "IS NOT" and "IS TOO") is represented aurally in the wacky theme answers, where the "IS" sound is either added to or subtracted from familiar names and phrases...
- FICKLE THERAPIST (21A: *Shrink who's always changing his diagnosis?) (physical therapist minus "IS") (i.e. "physical" with no "IS" sound = "fickle")
- DANCING CUISINE (26A: **What ballet patrons dine on?) ("Dancing Queen" + "IS") (i.e. "queen" with an added "IS" sound = "cuisine")
- BEA AS A BEAVER (40A: *Oregon State's mascot played by actress Arthur?) (busy as a beaver minus "IS")
- BUY ONE GET ONE FRIZZY (54A: **A deal on Afro wigs?) (buy one get one free + "IS")
- MURRAY LOVES COMPANY (80A: *How actor Bill feels about houseguests?) (misery loves company minus "IS")
- DIG UP DESSERT (95A: **Find cake or Jell-O in the back of the fridge?) (dig up dirt + "IS")
- AUTUMN SPECTRUM (113A: *Fall colors?) (autism spectrum minus "IS")
- ARE YOU FOR ISRAEL? (121A: **Question from El Al security?) ("are you for real?" + "IS")
O'Sheas Casino is a casino located within The Linq Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. As part of The Linq, it is owned by Caesars Entertainment and is connected on the exterior to a shopping/dining promenade, also owned by Caesars. The revitalized O'Sheas has three bars - the main Dublin Up Bar, the Lucky Bar and the exterior-facing Blarney Bar. The casino includes beer pong tables, a stage, a dance floor and a pit with games including blackjack, roulette and craps. (wikipedia)
• • •
IS NOT = "IS" sound removed. IS TOO = "IS" sound added. My only issue with the theme is that the last two answers made me wince a little. "ARE YOU FOR ISRAEL?" clued as a security question from El Al just felt creepy and militaristic and ick. Conjured up interrogations and loyalty oaths and all kinds of other crap. In short, tonally, that clue sucked. The autism pun bugged me more, though. HA ha, autism ... is not a juxtaposition I'm comfortable with. I have no problem with AUTISM being an answer, but something about punning on it for your wacky theme answer felt yuck to me. I realize these are just personal feelings. I'm not particularly offended. Just saying the vibe was kinda wrecked for me there at the end. As I say, I enjoyed the puzzle overall.
It's a bit heavy on junk in places, though. It would be great if it had about half as many of these answers: ABORC, ODILE, OSHEAS, NOBU, ALB, SSS, ANYA, SSR, LON (esp. as clued, wtf?), ETALIA, and SATIVA, which is the worst of them all. You can think it's cool and hip because it's pot and all, but a Latin partial is a Latin partial, i.e. boo.
I supposed you could clue with the (re-)pronunciation in a few of these themers, but they seem close enough for government work to me. I had only a slight amount of trouble solving this, and most of that came in the NE, which had a casino I didn't know (ugh to today's poker STU, ugh to casinos), and an abbr. pop star w/o an abbr. clue, and SSS, and a (for me) tough clue on JUJITSU (13D: It has a variety of locks and pins), and what I thought was a comparative but what ended up being a superlative adjective in LEANEST (14D: Like buffalo meat vis-à-vis beef and pork). Oh, also, I couldn't get into the bottom of that section for a while because I couldn't see DECK OUT from DEC- (47A: Festoon). Kept wanting DECORATE or the like, and it kept not working. Had to do a late change of TODDER to DODDER (17A: Move unsteadily). Otherwise, no real issues.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]